The summertime is here in full force – tourists, vacations, travel for fun and business. Most of us will hit the road sometime this summer. With all the devices that travel with us to stay connected from laptops to iPads to SmartPhones, we are more than ever at risk to a security breach. Some of this risk is harmless and others will cause you to need serious computer repair.
Hackers love to take advantage of unaware travelers and we need to stay sharp. Keep in mind that hotels, airports and other WIFI networks are hostile territory and we need to have our defenses up for cyber safety.
Here are a few tips from Myrtle Beach Computer Repair
Common Sense Check – you have all heard the saying “If it looks to be good to be true, it probably isn’t true.” This philosophy holds true in the cyber world as well as in the real world. If your summer vacation to Washington DC offers a personal meeting with the president, chances are it won’t happen. Do your homework on any offer and make sure that the company that stands behind the offer has a good reputation. Look for any hidden charges or requests for information that is not necessary for the transaction. Check with the International Air Transportation Association or the Better Business Bureau to ensure cyber safety.
Unbelievable Coupon Deals – there are reputable social media sites such as Groupon or Living Social that offer great deals. However, many sites have taken on the “look and feel” of a legitimate site and are there to simply scam you, install malware or take your credit care information and run. Be careful where you shop online. If you receive an email with a link to a shopping site that you have not signed up to receive information from – beware! It is probably a scam. Most sites rely on search engines for people to find them.
Credit Cards vs Cash – the best way to pay when you are traveling is with credit cards. This will provide you with protection against fraud and theft. Don’t use debit cards except for getting cash from an ATM. Keep a small amount of cash on hand for tips or the occasional bus or cab ride. Never bring your checkbook – leave it at home.
Avoid Public Internet Access. Avoid the computer at the hotel or airport and internet Cafés. Even novice hackers can steal your logon and passwords. In our next post we will give you some ideas on ways to stay safe if you must use public access. Until then make sure that the public WIFII at your hotel is legitimate. Only logon with a recognized source. For example, the hotel should have their own logon for you to access and not simply take you straight to the internet. As an alternative, you can access the internet on your laptop via your SmartPhone.
Passport security – did you know that the new e-passports come with an RFID chip so not only can customs read your information, so can hackers! This can happen from several feet away.
Give your ears a break – when you are not using your Bluetooth device, turn it off and disconnect it from your phone. Hackers can use your Bluetooth to steal your information or install malware. Always remember that your conversation can be overheard. Never give out personal information in a public area.
Social Media TMI – if you are heading out of town, do NOT post is all over Facebook, MySpace or other social media sites. Make sure that your home address is NOT listed in your profile. This is like giving a personal invitation to have your home invaded. A friend of mine is an artist and she mentioned that she would be at an art festival all day. She had her home address on her profile and had set the permissions so that only friends can see. When she returned at the end of the day, her home had been invaded. When the thief was caught, he said he got the information from Facebook. He had told her he was a friend of a friend and she accepted the friend request. Even if you set permissions on your social media sites, don’t include your address on your profile.
One last tip – before you leave on vacation be sure to connect with your local computer technician and have anti-virus protection installed on your laptop or notebook. This will go a long way toward keeping you protected.
We hope that these tips will keep you safe during your summer vacation. Enjoy the sunshine and disconnect from the cyber world and connect with family.
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